27 SES 04 A, Research Design and Analytical Categories as Lenses for Construction and Concealing Difference in Classroom Studies
Joint Session with NW 24
Scholars around the world have come to recognize the crucial role of research design, analytical categories, and time scales play when trying to measure and understand classroom teaching and learning. What some scholars, for example, see as change and developments others see as stability and status quo (Cuban, 1993; Klette, 2010). These variations reflects differences in; value statements and pre-understandings of what should count as change (Klette, 2010); analytical concepts and conceptual framework (Clarke, 2006; Klette 2010); time scales of analyses (Nespor, 2004); and data collection instruments (Martinez, Borko & Stecher, 2012).
In this symposium we will discuss how differences can be both created and ignored by (i) methodological set up and research design, (ii))analytical categories , (iii) and unit of timescale used to generate and analyze classroom data.
For a long period, for example, “The persistence of recitation” was more or less an adequate description of how to portray teaching and learning in classrooms. And from the point of classroom discourse a vast volume of research continue to report how classroom talk might be described within the initiation – response – feedback (IRF) structure. Recent classroom research however (Clarke, 2006; Sahlström & Lindblad, 1998) using more sophisticated ways of generating and analyzing classroom data (video data, log data, assignments data), has shown that some of the findings of the classroom research classics such as the “persistence of recitation” and the prevalence of IRF pattern as the predominant form of interaction, are seriously skewed due to the technological limitations in data generation. Video documentation from classrooms shows for example how teacher-student interaction has changed and varies across culturally diverse settings.
Second, conceptual frameworks and analytical categories may facilitate pattern recognition within a morass of nuanced and messy interpretation. At the same time, any category system is reflective of the originating culture and language and may create artificial and inappropriate distinctions or conceal unrecognized differences when applied outside the original cultural context.
Third, depending on different time scales different conclusions can be drawn. For example the researcher analysis short time interactions for then situating them within longer time segmentations like episodes and themes which themselves subsequently could be situated in larger scales like sessions, the whole teaching sequence, syllabuses etc.. Questions of timescale are however seldom discussed within studies of teaching and learning (Nespor, 2004). Nespor discusses how certain scale definitions have become more accepted and authoritative than others, whereas seldom supported with any explicit line of justification and reasoning. Within studies of teaching and learning, we will argue in this symposium, scholars often tend to give preference to some authoritative scales in favour of others (often macro level scales), and without that any explicit criteria and rationale are provided for these preferences.
From nationally diversified contexts, research designs and analytical positions contributors in this symposium discuss how how differences can be both created and ignored on the bases of generated classroom data.
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